Lady Knights claim outright NWC championship
Monday, May 19, 2014 12:00 AM
By Kevin Wannemacher
dhi MEDIA Correspondent
CONVOY – Crestview got home runs from sophomore Brady Guest and senior Kirstin Hicks as the Lady Knights claimed their 18th Northwest Conference championship with a 9-4 win over Columbus Grove on Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Knights looked to be in trouble early in Saturday’s contest, as Columbus Grove put together three straight hits in the opening frame, scoring twice to jump in front.
With one out, Deanna Kleman singled before a Hope Schroeder single put runners at first and third. Micah Stechschulte then followed with a RBI single to left to make it 1-0 in favor of the visiting Bulldogs. After Katie Roose was hit by a pitch and then ran for by Mackenzie Barne, Schroeder would score on a passed ball to push the lead to 2-0.
From there, Hicks would escape further damage by striking out Brooke Hoffman before Mackenzie Wurth hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
“Columbus Grove came out and hit the ball well,” commented Crestview head coach Carl Etzler. “They got off to a good start, but I thought our girls did a very good job of responding.”
Respond they did.
The Lady Knights started off the bottom of the first with a single by Lauren Schmid before Brooke Bowen and Hicks each struck out. Mackenzie Riggenbach kept the inning alive for Crestview with a sharp single to center field before Guest put the Knights in front. The sophomore left fielder took the first pitch from Schroeder and sent it over the left-center field fence for a 3-run home run that gave the Lady Knights a 3-2 advantage.
“That was big, to come back and answer them the way we did,” noted Etzler.
Neither team would threaten in the second or third but the Bulldogs would get even in the fourth.
With one out, Wurth doubled and took third on a groundout to Crestview third baseman Brooke Bowen. Wurth then scored on a wild pitch to knot the score at 3-3.
Crestview answered in the home half to take the lead back.
A leadoff walk to Guest started the frame before a sacrifice bunt by Terra Crowle moved Guest to second. After a groundout by Tianna Rager advanced Guest to third, a walk to Courtney Grote led to the tying run. Grote never stopped, as Crestview successfully pulled off a double steal that scored Guest and moved Grote to second safely.
“We were able to answer every time they scored and that is big when you can do that,” Etzler added. “The girls did a good job of making plays defensively and we were able to manufacture runs today.”
Both teams scored in the fifth as well.
Schroeder reached on a single, moved to second on a passed ball, took third on a groundout by Micah Stechschulte and scored on a sacrifice bunt from Roose to even the score at 4-4. However, the Knights came right back as Schmid walked, advanced to third on a Hicks single and scored on a wild pitch to put Crestview on top 5-4.
The Bulldogs went down in order in the sixth and Crestview broke the game open in the bottom of the inning.
With one out, Grote reached on an error before Cora Millay flew out for the second out. Grote then took second on a single by Schmid before a Brooke Bowen single plated Grote to make it 6-4. Hicks then followed with a home run to left-center that plated three runs, pushing the margin to 9-4.
Crestview then had junior pitcher Terra Crowle finish off the contest, retiring the Bulldogs in order and wrapping up the NWC outright title with a strikeout of Schroeder.
“One of our goals is always to win the NWC and the girls were able to accomplish that this year,” continued the Knight mentor. “We have faced some adversity this year, but the girls have overcome it and found a way to win a league championship.”
Hicks got the win in her final game in Convoy, tossing six innings while allowing seven hits and four runs. The senior hurler also struck out four and walked two in the contest. Crowle struck out two in pitching the final inning.
Schmid had three singles for the Lady Knights, who move to 16-7 overall and finish NWC play at 8-0. Bowen (single), Hicks (single, home run), Riggenbach (two singles), Guest (double, home run), Crowle (single) and Millay (single) also had hits for Crestview.
It was the final home game in the careers of Hicks, Grote, Bowen and Nicole McClure.
“The seniors are a tremendous group of girls,” Etzler concluded. “They have been very good leaders for us this year and have done a superb job in providing the younger girls leadership.”
Both schools remain alive in the tournament. Columbus Grove will play Fairview on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. in Division III district action at Lima Bath High School. The Lady Knights resume action on Wednesday when they battle Spencerville in a 5:00 p.m. game at Wapakoneta High School.